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#1 of 8 Old 05-19-2004, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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We're having some problems with ds, age 6, and I hope someone has some advice.
First, he is rarely satisfied or happy with anything. He looks forward to things-computer time, trips, playdates, dessert-but when they come, he is almost always dissapointed. For instance, if we spent the day at the beach, he would complain that he didn't get to play with the neighbor boy. We try really hard not to talk things up, because we know he is always let down. We've talked about having a happy heart, contendedness, etc, and we've read the Berenstain Bears get the Gimmies, in which the cubs learn that bears that can't find happiness unless they get everything they want will never be happy at all. I know he gets the message, and he tries. He'll say "It's so bad that Joey didn't come to my birthday, but I guess I should be happy since Papa came." He says what he thinks we want to hear, but it's obvious that he feels dissapointed. I know some people are just the glass is half empty kind of people, but how can he ever find any hapiness in his life?

Theother issue we are having is that he freaks out whenever he is faced with any kind of choice. It goes like this:

ME-Do you want oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast?
ME-I don't have time for both this morning, so you have to choose. How about oatmeal today, pancakes tomorrow?
HIM-Oooooh, what will I pick? What should I do? There's no good choice at all! Oh no, I'm running out of time to choose! What do I do? Oh, what do I do? (starts to cry) I can't choose....What should I pick?

This happens over every choice. It's not an act. He is truly distraught. Of course, we've stopped asking over things like breakfast-it isn't worth the trouble. Still, there are some things he must choose, like how to spend his free time. I won't allow aboth a video and computer time in the same day, so he has to choose. Also, he has a choice about his toys. If he wants to keep them in his room and play with them whenever he wants, he has to keep them picked up himself. Or he can put them on the shelf downstairs and have to ask to play with them, but then he gets mom and dad's help picking them up. He's not in trouble either way, but it requires a choice. Once he's begun the choice anxiety thing, there's no talking him out of it. It's like he's in a diffrerent world. If you make the choice for him, it's as if he can't hear you at all-he just continues with "What will I dooooo?" I'm not sure what to do either.
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#2 of 8 Old 05-20-2004, 01:25 AM
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Is it just a phase? Or has he always been over-anxious? (not sure that's the right word)

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#3 of 8 Old 05-20-2004, 02:21 AM
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When my son expresses disappointment, he always seems more at ease if I agree that what has happened is disappointing, or at least try to express that I understand how he feels. I have found that if I try to encourage him to feel a different way, he resists and insists on his sadness, but as soon as I empathize and verbalize for him "You were really sad that Lily couldn't come and play today?" he is at least somewhat comforted. Even with things that seem silly, small, or not inherently disappointing, if I just accept what he says and reflect it back, things usually get better for him.

It sounds like your son is avoiding choices so as to avoid being disappointed with his choice? I guess I would try eliminating as many choices as I could for now, but it sounds like you're already doing that. Could there be some underlying cause of insecurity in the family or in his life that hasn't been considered?

These sound like very challenging issues. Best of luck to you.
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#4 of 8 Old 05-20-2004, 10:13 AM
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6 years can be hard for up on what they are doing developmentally. My dd has been acting out much like she did when she was 2 - 3. 6 is another "what happened to my kid?" time. He may just be sorting stuff out during this time.
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#5 of 8 Old 05-20-2004, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies. This has bee ngoing on for a while, maybe 6 months orso, but he's always been 'needy.' I think it must be something developmental-I've racked my brain trying to pinpoint an external cause and I'm not coming up with much. We have a pretty stable, laid back family life and not much has changed in the last year. I have noticed that neither of these behaviors (I hate that word) occur when we are at a friend's house, or visiting grandparents, or when we have company. It's one of those things he saves for mom and dad. Actually, I've been inviting people over more often because it seems to cheer him up. Maybe he's lonely. We homeschool, and we live in the country...the only other kid around (besides his sister) is the boy next door, who is 11. Hmmm. Maybe he just needs some more play time with other kiddos. Sorry, I'm rambling now
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#6 of 8 Old 05-20-2004, 11:34 AM
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My 6yo dd does the same thing, in terms of always complaining about the thing that didn't happen. Last weekend we spent most of Saturday at the park with a friend of hers and we went out to eat at her favorite place and she had ice cream for dessert. She had a blast nearly all day long. We got home, and she started instantly complaining that we didn't do X in addition to all the other activities.

I wish I had a magic cure as this drives me nuts. Empathizing with her only seems to make it worse.
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#7 of 8 Old 05-22-2004, 08:37 PM
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I hope someone posts something that has worked for them. I came here wanting to post almost the exact same thing. Only thing is that its happening with my eldest daughter who just turned 5 in May.

Apart from the complaining of having missed out on X and really wanting to have done Y when she chose to do Z is is constantly telling me how she just wants to be like everyone else and no one talks to her plays with her. She has two other younger sisters. The middle one is 3.5 and the youngest is 2. The other two get along really well and they like their older sister but sometimes she wants to come and play and the 2 yr. old will just say no and push her away or give her her back. I think it got like that because when my youngest was about 1 and starting to walk and interact more she would want to play with both of them but my eldest would always give her the cold shoulder or run away from her while the 3.5 yr. old would sit and play and be patient with her. Well obviously now the 2 yr. old knows not to bother to play with her but now my 5 yr. old complains about it. She says "She doesnt like me she always plays with my other sister" One day I explained to her that when she was smaller that she never wanted to play with her so thats why now it will take time for her to come around and that when the next baby conmes (due in July) that she should make an effort to play with her even when shes not in the mood so the same thing does not happen. She understood and was like "ohhh ok" I dont know if that was right or wrong but thats what I said.

The other day we were all in their room (girls bedroom) and dh and I were talking the two younger ones were either playing amogst themselves or alone and she was just sitting there complaining that no one talks to her. Shes not the needy type by any means but I do fine that while the other two will inititate play together or alone and entertain themselves she will not. And she will complain till no end that no one plays with her and says she can not play by herself that she needs someone to play with. When she was younger she really likes being the loner and playing alone I have no idea what happened to her. And I swear I have never seen 5 year olds be so dramatic. Ive seen kids act like this at 7 or 8. I even remember feeling left out and such but never at 5 of course Im raising her differently than my parents raised me so maybe that has to do with it. And I think because of this sometimes I dont know how to act in certain situations because I was not in AP home growing up.

I sense that I just need some more one on one with her maybe but I just wish someone who has gone through this could tell me it will stop at some point or change. It has gotten sorse since she turned 5 though so I wonder if it could be developmental.

TAke care all


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#8 of 8 Old 05-22-2004, 11:40 PM
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Hmmmm...I don't know if I can help but I just wanted to throw one thing out at you.

My DH was like this when we first started dating (we were 20). It drove ME bonkers, I couldn't imagine how hard it was for him. On our very first date, he couldn't decide what he wanted to eat, narrowed it down to two choices, and then tried to get me to order the other thing so he could have both. It's a good thing he has a ton of great qualities because I'm not so sure I could have dealt with his indecisiveness as well as I did.

After I met his mom, I saw that she has an odd habit that probably her mom had and certainly my DH has as well. It goes like this:

MIL: Are you hungry?
Me: Yes, I think I'll have a tuna sandwich.
MIL: Are you sure you don't want turkey?

Now, this seems very ordinary but I swear she does it with every single thing. If you state that you are going to do something, anything - she will always offer an alternative. It seems very innocent but after a while, it really does get you to doubt your instincts or to start "overthinking" your choices.

Please don't be offended that I suggested this - I just wanted to point it out in case you or DH is doing this. It might be one of the reasons DS is indecisive or not satisfied when he does make a choice.

By the way, my DH is over this in the sense that he has no difficulty making decisions anymore. However, he does have a tendency to offer an alternative to our DD and I have to remind him every few weeks to just respect her choice and not offer another alternative.
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